The Wedding Guest List

How to Navigate the Guest List

Last month we introduced our intimate wedding’s with guest lists of 50 and under. Even if getting under to 150 (let alone 20) guests is giving you anxiety we are here to help! There are a few big steps to help curate the perfect guest list for your wedding.


  1. Set a budget before setting a guest list: Talk budget with the maximum number of people you would want to see on your wedding and go from there. When going through the items in your budget don’t forget the little items like guest favors and stationery. They can add up quickly and you will want to go into your marriage without getting yourself in more debt than your college loans! Be realistic on what you can afford. Just like when you are house hunting it is fun to look above your price range but then when you walk into what your budget allows it takes the some of the fun away. Once you have your budget you can play around with the numbers to see where the sweet spot is.


  2. Nearest + Dearest: Start with those closest to you first (don’t forget to include the two of you!). It can be immediate family, or the friends that are like family. If you are not the ones paying for the big day be sure to consult with the “wallets” on anyone they feel inclined to invite. Another approach would be to split the number in half (check to make sure there aren’t duplicates!).


  3. Don’t feel obligated: A wedding is by nature a very intimate and sacred event. You should never feel obligated to include acquaintances who have not stood the test of time in your lives. When going through the list picture yourselves in 10 years, who on that list can you honestly see yourselves being around. The same goes for your entire officemates. Jobs and coworkers can change quickly, often and sometimes without warning. If you decide to opt out of inviting the whole office, be discrete in wedding day discussions in the break room as a polite courtesy.


  4. Adding a +1: If you have an unlimited budget and your venue can accommodate an extensive guest list then sure, why not! If you find yourself out of that category (don’t worry, few are in that position!) the +1 is a good way to to help with the numbers. One way to approach a college roommate who has a different companion for each of the seasons is simple. If they live together or have been together longer than you and your fiancé then give them the joint invite. If not let them enjoy the evening with their great friends solo. That will make it easy across the board and keep the guest list to those who have been in your lives for the long haul.


*The proper etiquette of a “B list”: Let’s face it, not one want’s to have a “B list” but sometimes it happens. If you are crunched for space and know that you have a number of people who will not be in attendance go ahead, but with caution. Before save the dates are sent out go through the guest list and mark who you anticipate coming and who is a long shot.  A good rule of thumb is 15-20% will be regrets (but don’t count on it if you are getting married some place amazing!). Then start making your “B list” in order of most importance with that number in mind.

Send out the save the dates, but DO NOT send them to the “B list”! Once invitations go out have the second set ready to go with a later RSVP date. As regrets come in immediately send out the “B list” invite in order from your list. Bingo – “B” list problem solved!


Happy Planning!